Trading Wings for Cyclo-Cross Worlds

February 10 — 2018 | Netherlands

In lieu of guzzling chicken wings this Super Bowl Sunday a few members of our team decided to grab cameras and take a pilgrimage to the Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Valkenburg, Netherlands.

Campbell Steers, Ian Stowe, and Zach Wick hopped across the pond in support of Santa Cruz’s resident ‘cross virtuosos Tobin Ortenblad and Ben Gomez Villafañe as they represented the USA on one of cycling’s biggest stages. Our California crew found themselves knee-deep in the spectacle of European cyclo-cross as they braved rain showers, snow flurries, and boot-swallowing mud alongside 40,000 Belgian and Dutch fanatics in hills of southern Holland.

Check out the details of the trip in the photos below.

Recently crowned US National Champion Ben Gomez Villafañe started off the weekend of racing with a first-row call up in the Junior Men’s race.

Stroopwafels and beer provided 90% of the crew’s caloric intake on race day.

Rolling green hills quickly degraded into a muddy quagmire that made for incredibly tough racing.

Hold the rut. The mud made putting a foot out mandatory on this steep off camber descent.

Gaps between races provided time to consider the finer points of the polka remixes of   “Sweet Caroline,” and “Stand By Me,” blasting from a nearby disco tent.

Diehard fans packed the barriers all weekend.

Tobin Ortenblad winding through the tunnel of noise in the Elite Men’s race.

Slinging Friets and Braadwoorst.

Temperatures in the low thirties meant frequent café stops between races.

“It was probably the hardest race I’ve ever done.” US ProCX champion Tobin gave everything he had on Sunday.

Still a hero, even in Holland.

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